experts: real estate column Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Why Some Homes Sell and Some Don't

What can the serious (and I'm not implying desperate) seller do to ensure a successful marketing of their property?

By Alan  Skinner

I was asked a question along these lines just last week. Yes, I know what you're about to say ... "I bet he'll talk about supply and demand". Well ... obviously - yes, but I do think that this needs some clarification. Clearly, when there are lots of buyers ready, willing and able to make the decision to do so many sales will take place. Those units unable to sell under this scenario are, very likely, overpriced relative to their location, condition etc - read "the seller has unrealistic expectations" (or just isn't that committed to selling). Remember: willing seller, willing buyer.

What can the serious (and I'm not implying desperate) seller do to ensure a successful marketing of their property? A check-list would include the following: (i) employing the services of an experienced Realtor; someone who has been the "tough sell" times as well as the "boom periods". The 'sister's son/daughter who is "learning the ropes" with a 4 month old license may be a mistake - the success of this venture is serious business. Intelligent exposure of the property for sale and its unique selling features is imperative - [again, 'experienced Realtor] (ii) making sure the property really shows well. I have heard the analogy of the 'beauty pageant' - where it is necessary to be well presented and, for example, the "prettiest $875,000 home in the specific geographic location" to be chosen for negotiations to commence. (iii) based on your research, and, tempered with the advice you receive [see (i)] the asking price is the single most important factor in this exercise. With increased competition from a possibly swelling inventory of properties for sale, it is imperative to be correctly priced. (iv) [this may seem an unusual checklist item, but I believe it has serious 'consideration' value here] if time is passing and you are not having to sell; with the flexibility to defer your "rehousing" plans, you may be well advised to cease marketing and return to the exercise at a future time. Bear in mind, no one knows what the market in six months (or a year or so) will be, but if you have some faith [not just hope ;)] that it will be better, deferral could be your best strategy.

Note: an important corollary here is the message that the buyer can take from the "slower market". That is to seriously consider the "rightness" of the time for acquiring a home. Higher supply - lower demand and clearly an opportunity for advantageous negotiation. Again, the need for the experienced and skilled negotiator.

Now to our North Shore 2011 first 7 month picture. North Van detached homes sold are up by 33% from the previous year, attached (t/hses) sold - no change and apartments now up 3% from 2010. Detached - average price is 7% higher than this time '10 and inventory July 31st '11, down by 21%. Average prices up 3% (t/hses) and down 1% (apts). Inventory (t/hse) 13% lower than July 31st '10 and (apt) up 6% from 2010. N/Van overall inventory at July 31st '11 is rising, but still lower (-8%) than 2010 and again N/Van, 16% higher in total number of sales '10 to '11(1392 vs. 1615).

In West Van, detached number of sales for 2011 is up by 88% from last year. Average price up by 19% and inventory July 31st '11 down by 14% from last year. On the condo side - sales of attached (t/hses) are lower at 43 vs. 50 units; average price down 21%. Active listings down from July 31st '11 (27 vs. 43). Apartments sold are up 46% over 2010; with average price 17% higher than '10 and active listings down 25% from July 31st '11. Overall markedly lower inventory and strong demand remains, at the upper end price-wise.

Again, visit my website to see and "hear" the new developments. I continue my commitment to keep you... - the "go to" site for North Shore Real Estate analysis and jumping off point for FULL market listing information.

To join those wishing to get the e-mail version of this "update" - send a request now and you'll be assured receipt; phone me at (604) 988-7368 or visit

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Recent Articles by this columnist:

Keeping Realtors Honest
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How well do we stack up?
Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Resistance to change and compliance delay
Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Of urban planning and municipal wisdom
Thursday, April 17, 2014

Yes, it's official - demand is rising
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

All articles by Alan  Skinner

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